Anyone can take a car, but taking the bus is a community thing and also better for the environment. Let’s work together to improve the information on bus routes across the US. Join us for the OpenStreetMap US Summer Bus Mapathon!

Bus stop tags in OpenStreetMap

We can thank the contributions of thousands of people in helping route buses all over the world. But what about the actual stops? Is it sheltered? Does it have a bench? Is it wheelchair accessible? How can you access it?

In my own home town of NYC—which is a city so well mapped even building heights are meticulously measured—I was humbled to find that not only are many bus stop GPS coordinates missing from OpenStreetMap, but important infrastructure is also missing. In short, we have no idea where the bus stops are and what they look like.

We in the OpenStreetMap US community are “minding the gap” and mapping bus stops for our Summer mapathon—and we invite you to participate.

Jump on a bus (it’s great to cool off with some air conditioning on a hot summer day!), capture any bus stops along the way with Mapillary, then map them on OpenStreetMap. The idea of the mapathon is to trace a complete bus route and capture details of all the bus stops that it includes.

A good way to do that is to drive or cycle, capturing Mapillary images along the way. You can also ride the bus to record data that you later add to OpenStreetMap. If you’re well stocked up on battery and memory resources, you could capture the whole route. Otherwise, focus on the bus stops—but capture a little bit before and after the stop to make sure there is a good record of the surroundings for later mapping purposes.

You can do it on your own or at a local event across US cities. The national mapathon is happening on the weekend of July 29-30 and we’re having our NYC Mapathon on Monday, August 7. Feel free to join us at a local event or contribute at any time that suits you. We have put together instructions to help you get started with editing bus stop data on OpenStreetMap.

We look forward to your participation and are excited to map out bus routes across the United States!

/Alyssa, Mapillary and OpenStreetMap US teams

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